Starliner forced to abort mission after flying into wrong orbit

A Boeing spacecraft had to return back to Earth after going off course during an outer space mission.
3:32 | 12/20/19

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Transcript for Starliner forced to abort mission after flying into wrong orbit
And guys a little bit a trouble at Kennedy Space Center today a star liner capsule built by Boeing went off course after a successful launch apparently due to an engine problems are David Curley is in Cape Canaveral with the latest there. David if you can just explain to wasn't what exactly went wrong. Well Kimberly this was the final test for the star liner of -- important test. To carry humans back to space from American soil. So launch was fine the did the booster got it up to where needed to be. Then the second stage which is called a send tar rocket is supposed to get it. In orbit and the best example I can use. Is when you're making an off ramp on off of a freeway you wanna be at the right speed in the right angle to make that turn. Well the problem with the send tar rocket was it didn't fire because. They were listening to her that computer was actually looking at the wrong clock so everything Ott was automated in everything supposed to happen at a certain time. Looking at the wrong clock. The sense hard did not fire it did not get this vehicle into the right orbit and that's the problem. So they had a decision to make can we actually use the fuel that's onboard to get up to the higher orbit. And make it to the space station which was part of the mission to dock with the International Space Station. They decided no we don't know we have enough fuel. Let's protect this vehicle to star liner and make sure we can get it back to her so that's what they have done it is in orbit. They are gonna do some more tasks but come Sunday it is going to return to earth at this point and land at white sands in New Mexico this is an unusual capsule. Compared to what SpaceX is doing it actually lands on earth with some air bags. So that's an important part of the test I will tell you NASA and Boeing tried to spin this in the best positive way they could that. You know we had a good launch and we hope to do a good landing. But they failed in getting to the space station that does it mean that they can't actually carry astronauts to the space station on their next flight but it is in question. And of course it is Boeing vs SpaceX has day which one which company will be the first to carry astronauts back to the space station. And David I'm just curious how long was NASA and Boeing preparing for this mission in general like how long does it take before you actually do the lines. Well it's this has been going on for years through this program is called the crew missions. That basically SpaceX and Boeing were picked out of a number of companies are one it'd actually be the contractor that worked for NASA to take astronauts. To the space station. They can actually put it together another launch it in a relatively short period of time but it could be months. And SpaceX which is already flown to the space station which with its dragon crew. Capsule has one more test do as well it's called a pad abort test if they pass that and they may get the okay to go ahead go to the space station. This is a very expensive program for the taxpayers. Nearly seven billion dollars Boeing four point two billion of that for what was supposed to be. To test missions this was the first one they've got another test mission that and then six other missions that they're supposed to be going to the space station. But I gotta tell you they've they've tried to make this sound as if a lot of things went right and some things did go right. But this is a major fail for this program and for Boeing which is already been battered with the 737 max's through as well. Absolutely. David Curley right there in Cape Canaveral with Andy tells there thank you so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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